Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Human evolution speeding up


The world may feel more and more like a global village, but its residents are increasingly genetically diverse thanks to the rapidly accelerating pace of human evolution, a study said Monday.

Geneticists say the huge explosion in our numbers in the past 40,000 years, since Homo sapiens migrated out of Africa to other continents, has resulted in a much faster pace of evolution compared to the previous six million years.

The pace of change has increased 100-fold in modern times compared to our distant past, and most notably since the Ice Age, 10,000 years ago, and has led to increasing diversification between the races.

"We are more different genetically from people living 5,000 years ago than they were different from Neanderthals," said John Hawks, an anthropologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who collaborated on the study.

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